Highlands & Islands

Peregrine falcon pictured catching large prey in Highlands

Peregrine falcon on ground with crow Image copyright Karen Munro

A wildlife photographer has taken a series of images of a peregrine falcon catching a hooded crow.

Karen Munro was photographing birds near a loch in Caithness when she was drawn to the sound of a commotion where three of the crows had been moments earlier.

She said: "I just saw the peregrine hit the ground with one of the crows. You can see her wrestling with the crow in the first two photos."

Peregrine falcon on ground with crow Image copyright Karen Munro

Crows are known to mob birds of prey, flying close and even attacking them to scare off the raptor.

But Ms Munro said: "The other two crows circled overhead, but made no attempt to help. They flew away.

"A short-eared owl then appeared and circled overhead but it didn't go near either and flew away.

"A few minutes later the peregrine flew off with its catch."

Peregrine with crow Image copyright Karen Munro

The photographer has not given the location of last week's encounter to protect the falcon. Peregrines have been persecuted in illegal killings.

Peregrines are a large and powerful bird of prey.

The falcons are listed by Guinness World Records as the fastest-diving bird.

Bird conservation charity, the RSPB, says it is possible for a peregrine "in ideal conditions" to reach speeds of up to 200mph on a dive.

Their usual prey are ducks, wading birds and pigeons.

Peregrine with crow Image copyright Karen Munro

All images are copyrighted.

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